Examiner: Real-time information coming to SEPTA bus shelters

Examiner: Real-time information coming to SEPTA bus shelters

PHILADELPHIA – The City of Philadelphia is proposing to upgrade nearly 300 bus shelters across the city while installing an additional 250 new shelters.  In addition, at least 30 bus shelters at key locations will have real-time bus information displays installed, according to city officials.

The city hopes to have the new shelters installed by Spring 2011, according to Deputy Mayor for Transportation Rina Cutler, who is also a SEPTA Board member.  The installation of the shelters is proposed to cost the city no money, with revenues to be generated from advertising at the shelters.

This is not the first time that real-time bus information has been attempted at city bus shelters.  In the previous decade, SEPTA installed such displays at three locations – 13th and Market Streets, 15th Street and JFK Blvd., and at Wissahickon Transportation Center, East Falls.  The displays were part of a project to display real-time information on routes connecting Center City and Wissahickon Transfer Center.

The displays, however, were plagued by unreliable information being displayed and frequent malfunctions before they were discontinued nearly a year after they were installed.

At present, there are signs at two major transportation hubs – 69th Street Terminal and Olney Transportation Center – which display departure times on electronic signs; the signs, however, do not display real-time status with respect to how late a bus is.

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